Lost voices: Irish emigrants would like to vote

Ireland has gone to the polls again – voting is underway in the EU Fiscal Treaty referendum

Patrick Flanagan, a master’s candidate at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Maryland, believes that not all Irish emigrants living abroad should have the right to vote, given the significant number of people worldwide who hold citizenship.

“Such widespread political franchise could significantly affect the electoral system in Ireland as in theory there would be more Irish voters outside of Ireland than in Ireland,” he maintains.

Instead Flanagan believes that those who recently left Irish shores should be afforded the right to vote.

“What I would like to see is the right of recent Irish emigrants within five years of non-residency to vote in their local constituency, the reason being is that it is quite possible for an Irish citizen to return home within five years, so they should have a choice in who is elected into power,” he maintains.

Despite the widespread opinion, the fact remains that Irish emigrant votes will go unaccounted in the momentous election.

While many may be tempted to literally pay the price and fly home to cast their vote, hundreds of thousands of others voices will be omitted.

During Ireland’s heyday, the government spent almost $70 million on a Dutch designed electronic voting system which was later scrapped without a single vote being cast.

Just like the abandoned e-voting system, Irish emigrant voices will become obsolete on polling day, as their say in the country’s future goes unaccounted.

Read more:Emigrants should have a vote in upcoming general election